Twenty eight students from Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy graduated June 14, earning both their associate’s degree and high school diplomas, several of the students are from Lake Stevens High School and include Emily Bronske, Shyann Bugher, Kaitlin Crouch, Karina McCally, Stefan Sorensen, Talitha Thurston and Tanis Whittington.
ORCA is an early college academy for high school students, who can earn up to two years of college credit while completing their high school education. Most students graduate with an associate’s degree in addition to a high school diploma.
The program is the only early college academy of its kind in the country. ORCA uses the local marine environment as the unifying theme for all academic disciplines.
“This group of ORCA graduates demonstrated persistence and a strong work ethic to achieve an associate’s degree while they are in high school. Regardless of their eventual university major, each student grew tremendously from their experience at ORCA and they have become active, responsible and inquisitive learners,” said Ardi Kveven, founder and executive director of the program.
This year’s ORCA graduates have earned over $125,000 in scholarships including three students from Lake Stevens.
Emily Bronske, Lake Stevens High School, $1,000 from Future Cougs. She will attend Washington State University and plans a pre-vet major.
Stefan Sorensen, Lake Stevens High School, $3,500 from the Youth Maritime Training Association. Stefan is attending the California Maritime Academy and majoring in marine transportation.
Tanis Whittington, Lake Stevens High School, $24,000 per year to attend Carroll College.